The Original Signature

Fifth Question



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The fifth question:

Question 5


  -- because there are so many types of people, because there are so many different kinds of people.

Religion is one, but the languages of religion are different. The Jew understands one language, the Christian understands another language. The difference is of language. The Hindu speaks still another language -- but all differences are linguistic. Just as English can be translated into French and French can be translated into Italian and there is no conflict, so Christianity can be translated into Hinduism, Hinduism can be translated into Judaism -- there is no problem. One just needs clarity to see.

A religious person will see that there is only one religion in the world -- although many are the manifestations. And there is nothing wrong. It is good. If these religions don't fight with each other and don't nag each other, it is perfectly good, it is enriching. It makes the world more livable, more lovable. Just think of a town where there are only temples and no mosque and no church and no synagogue. The town is a little less rich. When there are all kinds of temples and all kinds of shrines and all kinds of prayers going on, it is beautiful. God can be worshipped in many ways. And you have to choose your way.

The problem is not why there are so many religions, the problem is their conflict, their constant antagonism about each other, their constant enmity. That is the problem. If this enmity disappears I don't see any problem. In fact, in a better world there will be even more religions than there are now, because basically each person is so individual and so unique that he will have his own religion, he will have his own version. In fact. that's how the reality is: two Christians are not alike. Even while praying in the same church and reading the same Bible, two Christians are not alike. Their approaches will remain a little different. Their approaches will keep something of their individuality, something of their colour. Something of their minds will be there.

Conflict should disappear; there should arise a friendship. They are all working for God, why should they be in conflict? The conflict comes because of the politics in it. The Christian priest wants the whole world to be Christian. In just the same way the communist wants the whole world to be communist. Why bother about the whole world? If there are a few beautiful Christians that is more than enough. They should be Christians, that is the thing. They should live in Christ, that is the thing. Now that you have a big crowd behind you, what does that crowd matter, how does it matter? But the crowd creates power in the world of politics.

If you have many Catholics, Catholicism is more powerful. Then the pope of the Vatican becomes more powerful. If you have more Hindus, then the Shankaracharya of Puri becomes more powerful. It is really power-politics.

People are different and they all need different approaches towards God. One should remember only one thing: that one is moving towards God. How he is moving, in what garb, with what language he prays, is irrelevant. But the conflict is there, the politics is there, and the politics is a shadow of egos.

So many religions are not the problem, many egos are the problem.

I have heard....

A Baptist, a Presbyterian, a Methodist and a Roman Catholic met by agreement to dine on fish. As soon as grace was said, the Catholic rose, armed with knife and fork, and taking about one third of the fish, including the head, removed it to his place saying, 'The pope is the head of the church.'

Immediately the Methodist minister stood up and helped himself to about one third, including the tail, saying, 'The end crowns the work.'

The Presbyterian taking the remainder of the fish to his plate, exclaimed, 'Truth lies between the two extremes.'

The Baptist had nothing before him but an empty plate and the prospect of a slim dinner. So seizing a bowl of melted butter, he dashed it over them exclaiming, 'I baptize you all!'

This is what goes on. These are egos in conflict -- not reli-gions. How can religions be in conflict? These are egos, subtle egos. Beware of these egos, these egos are working in you too.

If you are a lover of truth then all manifestations of truth will be welcome to you. You would not like to convert a Hindu to Christianity or a Christian to Hinduism. Your whole prayer will be that the Christian should really become a Christian and the Hindu should become a real Hindu. And a real Hindu and a real Christian are exactly the same thing, precisely the same thing.

Remember, if the world becomes almost of one religion there will be such monotony, it will be so boring. It will not be good. Just think if the whole world were to become of one religion, were to come under one Church and one fold. It would be sheer boredom, intolerable. There is much joy because of the variety. In everything variety is good. There are so many trees. Just think -- one kind of tree all over the earth.... Who would look at those trees? Even if it is rose bushes all over the earth -- who would look at the rose bushes? The variety is a kind of celebration. Thousands of colours and thousands of kinds of animals and trees and birds -- everything is rich with difference, with distinction.

And this should be the case in every dimension of life.

Rabbi Hirsch was sitting in the confessional box with Father Dolan to learn the principles of the Catholic religion. Two woman confessed to having made love with their boyfriends, and when questioned further, admitted that it was not once but three times. As penance they were told to say three prayers and put ten dollars in the poor box.

Just then the phone rang and Father Dolan was called away to give the last sacraments to a dying man. 'You stay here and confess the rest of these people,' said the priest to the rabbi. 'It is Saturday night and they won't otherwise be able to take communion tomorrow. After all, it is all one God, just be sure to get the ten dollars.'

He left and Rabbi Hirsch sat nervously in the box. The first girl to enter confessed to having relations with her lover. 'Three times?' asked the rabbi.

'Just once, Father.'

'You are sure it was not three times?'

'No, Father, just once.'

'I will tell you what. Go back and do it twice more. We have got a special this week. Three for ten dollars.'

But this variety is good! Or, listen to this....

A priest and rabbi happened to find themselves sharing a first class carriage on a long rail journey. They argued without rancour about the truths of religion until the priest, feeling he was getting the worst of it, said rather sharply, 'Look here, Rabbi, on your oath as a man of religion, can you swear you never enjoyed the taste of pork?'

The rabbi coloured up, wrestled with his conscience a moment, and said, 'Very well, Father, I will admit it. I have eaten pork. '

'And it was very nice, wasn't it?' exclaimed the triumphant man of Rome.

The rabbi retired behind his Jewish Times in a long and thoughtful silence. suddenly, re-emerging he said, 'I say, Father.....'

'Yes, Brother, what is it?'

'Can you swear as a Christian priest that you have never enjoyed sex with a girl out of the flock?'

The priest tried to beg off, but the rabbi insisted. 'The truth, come on, the truth!'

'Well, Rabbi, I confess it, I have.'

'Nicer than pork, isn't it?'

It is good -- different kinds of people, different varieties of religion, different standpoints, different approaches -- all is good. Just there should be no conflict. There need not be. Egos should disappear, not religions. If egos disappear then there can be as many religions as you like. and it will be very fulfilling because everybody can find his own way, choose his own way.

My own idea about religion is that nobody should be given a religion by birth. Birth should not be involved in it. A child should be given a chance to watch all kinds of religions possible. He should be allowed to go to the synagogue, to the church, to the temple, to the GURUDWARA. He should be helped in every way; he should be introduced to all kinds of religious varieties going around so that he can choose on his own. The parents should help him to become alert about all the varieties of religion -- they should not try to impose any religion on him. Then if he finds that he would like to become a Sikh, perfectly good. With all blessings he should become a Sikh; he should start going to the GURUDWARA . If he thinks he would like to become a Buddhist, that's perfectly good.

In a better world with more understanding there will be many religions in every family -- the father is a Buddhist, the mother is a Christian, the son is a Hindu, the daughter has become a Mohammedan, and so on, so forth. Each family should have all kinds of varieties, and it will be a richer life. And the family will have more understanding, more religiousness, because all the people searching in different ways will bring new understandings and pour them into the pool of the family. There is no need to create politics; there is no need to be so afraid of each other. One should be more available.

And if you are not feeling good being a Hindu, if you don't feel that it fits with you, it is perfectly right to become a Christian or to become a Mohammedan. Or if you are not feel-ing good being a Mohammedan, it is perfectly good, you can choose. It is not a betrayal! In fact, if you don't like being a Mohammedan and you remain a Mohammedan you are betraying God because your search will be betrayed. If you hate the whole idea of Mohammedanism and you remain a Mohammedan because you have been brought up as a Mohammedan, because accidentally you were born in a Mohammedan family, then you will be a religionless person. Your Mohammedanism will not make you joyous and you cannot change your Mohammedanism. And maybe the Hindu temple was the right place for you -- where you could have danced, where you could have come closer to God.

Religion should be by choice, not by birth, and there should be as many religions as there are types of people.


Next: Chapter 10, The Original Signature, The sixth question


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